Watch CNN’s live town hall on the climate crisis featuring 10 Democratic presidential candidates tonight beginning at 5 p.m. ET.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who made climate change the central issue of his unsuccessful presidential campaign, praised on Wednesday the remaining 2020 Democratic candidates who have sought to offer aggressive action on the crisis.
Inslee appeared on CNN’s “New Day” hours before the network is set to air a town hall focused exclusively on the climate crisis.
“We have seen, I think, an arms race now, in a good way, of candidates competing to have the most effective plans and I think that’s a good thing,” said Inslee, who ended his campaign last month.
“Tonight, I’m going to listen to the degree of strength and prioritization that candidates have given to this issue, not only to talk about the elements of their plans, but also how they see the larger context of other issues,” Inslee said. “Because we know we have to make this a high priority to get this job done.”
He added, “But I’m thrilled we’re now seeing the Democratic Party standing up.”
Inslee left the race in August with a reputation as one of the party’s leaders on climate change, which has become a central focus of the Democratic primary. Nearly all of the top-tier Democratic candidates have unveiled comprehensive climate change plans, with some proposing far-reaching overhauls of the US economy in order to address the crisis.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced on Tuesday that she would adopt Inslee’s 10-year climate plan, while also expanding on his blueprint. Warren and Inslee met in Seattle last weekend to discuss climate policy, during which Warren told Inslee that she would be endorsing his plan, aides to both told CNN.
Inslee said on Wednesday that Warren did not need his permission to adopt his plan.
“We offered my plan as an open source document and all the candidates are welcome to use it,” Inslee told CNN.
He said he’s “spoken to the majority of candidates who have shown an intense interest in this.”
“So I think we’re now in a place that is really healthy where the Democratic Party is, I believe, going to produce a candidate to really make climate change a focus,” Inslee said.
In addition to Warren, nine other Democratic hopefuls are participating in CNN’s town hall: former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro; businessman Andrew Yang; Sen. Kamala Harris of California; Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; former Vice President Joe Biden; Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont; South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas; and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey.
CNN’s MJ Lee and Gregory Krieg contributed to this report.